Rand-stretching Holidays

From R305 per day: Europe's cheapest & most expensive cities for travellers

The Backpacker Index ranks 60 European countries according to how much you'll likely spend per day. It's a great resource for cash-strapped tourists travelling on the rand

14 October 2018 - 00:10 By Elizabeth Sleith
Istanbul, Turkey, is Europe's cheapest city for backpackers.
Istanbul, Turkey, is Europe's cheapest city for backpackers.
Image: 123RF/zoomzoom

So you're contemplating a European holiday but aren't sure where to go. And in these tense economic times, you also want to stretch your rands as far as possible ....

Well, here's a handy tool to help you narrow down your choices: the Backpacker Index.

Put together by a UK-based travel-insurance company, the index is a ranking of 60 European cities according to how expensive they are for travellers. While it's specifically designed with backpackers in mind, it will give any budget-conscious wanderer a good sense of what to expect to spend on everyday tourist essentials, such as eating, drinking and sightseeing.

Alpha Travel Insurance compiled the index by adding up the average prices of hostel accommodation, public transport, budget meals and beers and sightseeing to come up with a cost per day for each city.

And what, according to them, is your cheapest option?

Istanbul, Turkey, where the price of one night in a hostel, two public-transport rides, entry to one famous attraction, three budget meals, and three local beers comes to a grand total of $20.85 (about R305).

At the other end of the scale, the same will cost you almost six times as much in Zurich, Switzerland. At a spend of $117.47 (about R1,718) per day, it's Europe's most expensive city.

Back at the cheaper end of the scale, the rest of the "bottom five" are:

  • Kiev, Ukraine ($25.46);
  • Krakow, Poland ($26.31);
  • Belgrade, Serbia ($26.99); and 
  • Bucharest, Romania ($27.63).

Other more affordable options, around the $30 per day mark, include Sofia, Bulgaria; Budapest, Hungary; Zagreb, Croatia; and Warsaw, Poland.

The rest of the most expensive top five are:

  • Venice, Italy ($111,32); 
  • Oslo, Norway ($107,42);
  •  Reykjavik, Iceland ($103,37); and
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands ($97.41).

Find the whole index, and have a closer look at the break-downs for each category, here